- - Thursday, October 18, 2012

MORTGAGE

The average U.S. rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage has fallen to near its record low set earlier this month.

The rate on the most popular mortgage dipped to 3.37 percent from 3.39 last week, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday. Two weeks ago, the rate reached 3.36 percent, its lowest level on records dating to 1971.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage, often used for refinancing, set a record low of 2.66 percent, down from last week’s 2.7 percent.

AUTO

GM to hire 3,000 workers from Hewlett-Packard

DETROIT — General Motors will hire 3,000 workers from Hewlett-Packard, part of a push to bring most of its computer technology in-house.

The HP employees, who already work on GM projects, will help the automaker toward a larger goal: improving the software technology it puts in cars and uses to run its business.

Thursday’s announcement is the latest in series of technology moves at GM. The company plans to hire 10,000 programmers and software experts in the next three to five years. It also wants to shift technology work from outside firms into GM and to open four new IT centers.

LABOR

Unemployment aid applications jump to 388K

Weekly applications for U.S. unemployment benefits jumped 46,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 388,000, the highest in four months. The increase marks a rebound from the previous week’s sharp drop. Both swings were largely due to technical factors.

The four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, rose slightly to 365,500, the Labor Department said Thursday. That’s still a level consistent with modest hiring.

A department spokesman said the past two weeks’ figures were distorted by seasonal adjustments the department makes.

TECHNOLOGY

AOL to organize email clutter

NEW YORK — The Internet icon that bought email to the masses with its classic “You’ve got mail” slogan now wants to help people organize the flood of messages in their Gmail, Yahoo Mail and other accounts.

AOL Inc. launched Alto on Thursday. It’s not a new email service. Rather, Alto works in concert with other email accounts to clean out and organize messages, social network notifications, daily deals, photos and email attachments. The service is available for free by invitation to users in a closed “beta” test.

Users can set up Alto so that mass emails, such as those from retailers or daily deals sites, skip their inbox entirely and show up only in Alto. Instead of a text-based list that people are used to in email, Alto uses what it calls “stacks.” These take up most of the application’s main page.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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